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Photograph of William Quirk

William Quirk Senior Professorial Lecturer World Languages and Cultures

University of Virginia: MA, PhD in German; BA in English

Dr. Quirk is Director of the German Program at AU. He has scholarly interests in German, English and French from the late eighteenth century to the present. Within German he focuses on the Age of Goethe and Modernism and gives special emphasis to Kleist, Nietzsche and Kafka. A second strain in his research interests uses German intellectual history to interpret recent American writers (e.g. Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo). Dr Quirk is also interested in the neopragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty (of whom he was a student) and his reception of German thinkers, particularly Nietzsche and Heidegger. Additionally, Dr. Quirk has done research on German-language film, particularly the work of Michael Haneke and Tom Tykwer. In scholarly articles he has written on the self-reflexive dimension of Kleist’s “Die Marquise von O.…;” the intertextual relation between Kafka and the Austrian novelist Peter Henisch; and intersections of Nietzsche and Cormac McCarthy. Other misc. interests include existentialism/the question(s) of being; theories of the sublime; literary and cinematic representations of the experience of consciousness; Harold Bloom as critic/critical theorist (the anxiety of influence, agon, Gnosticism, rhetoric); recent theoretical discussions of attention.

Dr. Quirk has been at AU since 2010. As German Program Director, he coordinates the German courses taught at AU and is devoted to excellence in undergraduate teaching. He teaches all levels of German language, with emphasis given to upper-level class, such as Studies in German Film, Introduction to Translation, and Business German. He also teaches German culture in English translation in the AU CORE program (The Modernist Explosion, Kafka and Modes of the Imagination, From Faust to the Berlin Wall). He enjoys discussing literature, culture, film and philosophy with students, colleagues and friends. Members of the community should feel free to reach out to him.

Dr. Quirk has lived in different cities in Germany—Düsseldorf, Jena and Dortmund—and has also spent significant time in Paris and Brussels.

Other languages: French, Italian, Spanish
See Also
World Languages & Cultures
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Spring 2024

  • GERM-230 The Modernist Explosion

  • GERM-340 From Faust to the Berlin Wall

  • GERM-496 Selected Topics:Non-recurring: Representation and the Past